It happens every so often that I find myself getting confused about what I want and what direction will be best moving forward. This happens when I listen to all that is around me, others, the media, social constructs. I often then need to step back and remind myself of my values and what I want. My husband knows - when I recently suggested maybe I should just go out and get a 'real job' he said "that won't make you happy", and he is right. I am destined to forge my own path, something we all are to varying degrees.
'Walk to the beat of your own drum' is a bit cliché. It is a nice idea, and yet needs some clarification. When we listen to different music our bodies entrain, even our heart beat is faster when we listen to fast music and slower when we listen to music with a slow beat. Take that idea into the world where there is different music, or to use the metaphor, different people all beating different drums - it can be hard to find your own beat.
We are designed to fit in
We are social beings, it is in our nature to fit in. When we sit around with a group of people all beating a steady beat together it is normal for us to want to beat our drum in time, or even if we don't want to we can find our beat merging with the beats around us. On the other side if your drum beat is so far out from the drum beats around you, you are likely to get a nasty stare. All this means it can be tricky to find our own beat.
How to beat your own drum without being an outcast
It can be useful to know a few different drum beats to allow you to fit in to the world around. It may be that you have a number of different social groups and they each beat their drums differently. Some social groups are accepting of drum beats that are a bit different to others too. Yet you don't want to give up your own beat once you find it.
Some ideas to help with beating your own drum or even figuring out what drum you want to beat:
take a look at who you hang around with, if at a deep level you really don't feel you fit it is worthwhile spending some time finding your own tribe. Start with people who like the same activities at you or search online for common interests.
learn how different beats go together so you can adjust your beat when you meet another person without mashing or clashing with their beat. This is really about respecting differences and finding a way to work together that allows each person to stay true to themselves.
if you are not sure what your beat is like, try out a few different ones. Try new experiences, hang out with different people, find beats that resonate with you.
know how to beat softly in the background - sometimes in life you come into all sorts of crazy loud beats..... don't try to beat louder than everyone else, this just makes noise that no one can hear. Simply keep your beat going softly inside as you move through this space.
Spend time with yourself so you can listen to your own drum. Walk in Nature, sit under a tree or sit with a cup of tea and just you without trying to do anything else. This is how you listen to your inner voice - or your inner drum. When we feel a need to fill every space available it can be hard to hear that little drum beating within us. Sometimes (we all do it) we keep busy deliberately so we can't hear our own drum because intuitively we know that means change.
It is not always easy to follow your own drum, yet when we do life takes on greater meaning and we can be more at peace with life and what life throws at us.
Go on listen to your drum and to others drums and make some music.